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Champions held

Posted on 13 December 2008  - 12:00

Harry Redknapp's side held champions Manchester United to a point in a hard-fought 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

Champions held

Harry Redknapp's side held champions Manchester United to a point in a hard-fought 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The visitors had the better of the game overall but could not find a way past our depleted but resolute back line.

The result keeps us moving in the right direction up the table, and means we remain unbeaten in the current campaign against teams who occupied the top four places in last season's Barclays Premier League standings.

Ledley King was the only absentee from the side that started our 2-0 win at West Ham last time out, with Michael Dawson coming into replace the Club captain.

But we suffered an early blow to our changed back four when stand-in skipper Jonathan Woodgate limped off after just 11 minutes.

Tom Huddlestone came on to take his place, with Didier Zokora switching to right back and making way for the big man in midfield. Vedran Corluka partnered Dawson at centre-half.

But despite the upheavals, and some early pressure from the visitors, we went on to have the better of the first half in terms of chances if not possession.

On nine minutes, a loose Rio Ferdinand header was picked up by David Bentley 30 yards out, who teed himself up for a stunning left foot volley that was saved by Edwin Van Der Sar at full stretch.

Aaron Lennon was being given a tough afternoon by right back Rafael Da Silva, but he got free of him on 23 minutes.

The Brazilian was dispossessed by Huddlestone who fed Lennon, and he cut inside of Darren Fletcher to shoot and again force Van Der Sar into a save. The Dutchman also blocked Roman Pavlyuchenko's follow-up.

Our best chance of the half fell to Luka Modric on 39 minutes, who met Zokora's right wing cross with a diving header six yards out, which he put wide.

And three minutes before the break, it was unfortunately Pavlyuchenko rather than United who felt the full force of a trademark Huddlestone strike from the edge of the box, which accidentally struck the Russian when it appeared goal-bound.

United forced us back throughout the half with plenty of neat passing moves and close control without really getting in behind.

Carlos Tevez was the only man to do so on 36 minutes, when he turned Benoit Assou-Ekotto on halfway and charged on into the box, where he got past Corluka only to flash across the face of goal and wide from a tight angle.

Heurelho Gomes was only tested once in the half, and from an unlikely source as Ferdinand hit a decent shot from the edge of the box in stoppage time.

And United found opportunities far more frequent in the second half as they began to stamp their authority on the game.

On 54 minutes, Cristiano Ronaldo had the ball in the back of the net following a corner, but the goal was ruled out as he had controlled with his arm.

Ji-Sung Park then threatened on 61 minutes when he turned Assou-Ekotto on the edge of the box but hit his shot straight at former PSV Eindhoven team-mate Gomes.

An impressive double substitution was made by Sir Alex Ferguson on 69 minutes, which saw the introduction of Old Trafford stalwarts Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

The latter's powers of delivery provided many of our problems in the final quarter of the match, first when he crossed for Nemanja Vidic on 72 minutes, but Gomes was equal to the header.

Two minutes later, a Giggs corner provided United's best chance of the game, and again, it fell to skipper Ferdinand.

He climbed highest and un-challenged six yards out to meet the set-piece with a firm header that skimmed the roof of the net.

Another Giggs corner caused trouble on 77 minutes, when Corluka failed to clear and Michael Carrick was able to stab at goal.

Gomes was equal to that, but he was nothing short of magnificent on two occasions before the end.

First it was in denying Park again seven minutes from time, as the in-form Brazilian flew through the air to tip over the Korean's fierce shot from the edge of the box.

And in the final minute, Gomes was the hero once again as he got across splendidly to keep out a Giggs free-kick destined for the top corner.

The only work Van Der Sar was given to do before this point was on 63 minutes, when he scrambled across his goal to tip a Bentley free-kick round the post.

But the Dutchman looked beaten six minutes from time when Modric broke clear on a counter-attack and hit a shot which deflected off Ferdinand and agonisingly onto the roof of the net.

At the end, the final whistle was greeted by the home faithful as if we had taken all three points, but there is no doubt the effort shown by Redknapp's men warranted that sort of response.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate (Huddlestone, 11), Assou-Ekotto; Bentley, Zokora, Jenas (O'Hara, 62), Lennon; Modric; Pavlyuchenko (Bent, 54)
Subs not used: Cesar, Bale, Gunter, Boateng

Man Utd (4-4-2): Van Der Sar; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea; Park, Fletcher (Scholes, 69), Carrick, Ronaldo; Berbatov, Tevez (Giggs, 69)
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Neville, Anderson, Nani, Evans